An unconfirmed report has claimed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has arrived in China to begin a new life in exile, barely a week after being unceremoniously kicked out of government.
The report comes hot on the heels of a denial by the South African government that Mnangagwa had applied for state asylum in the country, neither was he in the country.
Mnangagwa was reported to have fled Zimbabwe through Mozambique, although Khuluma was able to confirm firmly that the Vice President flew out of Harare instead.
A statement attributed to Mnangagwa was flighted in independent media as an advert yesterday, while another version was distributed online, in which the axed VP promised to return and remove Mugabe.
His exact whereabouts remain unknown at this point, although Khuluma Afrika understands he is neither in South Africa, nor China.
“The report that he is in China is meant to give an impression that the Commander of the Defense forces, General Chiwenga, who is also in China, is working with Mnangagwa to remove Mugabe. This would give reasons for Mugabe to fire Chiwenga, who is rumoured to be an ED ally,” a source in the military told Khuluma Afrika.
New Zimbabwe was told a different story however. In their report, a military source stated that Mnangagwa was now in China.
“He (Mnangagwa) is now in China. War veterans’ chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa facilitated the journey,”
Mutsvangwa, a former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, could neither deny nor confirm the development, referring questions to Mnangagwa’s family, according to the report.
“Ask his family,” retorted Mutsvangwa who addressed a press conference in South Africa Wednesday where indicated that war veterans had sacked Mugabe from Zanu PF in the aftermath of Mnangagwa y expulsion.
“He is not in China. Those claims are from enemies of progress,” said the family member.
Gen. Li Zuocheng, member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the Joint Staff Department under the CMC, met with Gen. Constantine Guveya Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces in Beijing on Wednesday.
Before their meeting, Li held a welcoming ceremony for Chiwenga and accompanied him to review the honor guard of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for a hospital to be built in Sengwe in Chiredzi South last month, Chiwengwa reiterated statements made by Army Generals before that the country can never be taken over by someone without liberation war credentials.
The function was attended by several senior Army officers including Army Chief of Staff, General Trust Mugoba who made Zanu-PF slogans at the end of the proceedings.
“We will never allow sellouts or whites to take over this country,” declared Chiwengwa.
Zanu-PF is divided through the middle with two factions namely G40 believed to be led by the First Lady Grace Mugabe and Lacoste which is loyal to Vice President Mnangagwa fighting to take over power from the ageing President. G40 has few members who participated in the liberation struggle.
General Chiwenga was recently accused by the First Lady of supporting Mnangagwa in the succession politics. Mugabe himself warned the Army last month to stop dabbling in politics and said such action was tantamount to a coup. He also announced that he was going to retire top Army generals before the end of this year and generals had tended to observe Mugabe’s warning since then.
“Many lives were lost during the liberation struggle and that should give us more resolve on where we are coming from and where we are going as a country. We are facing many challenges as a people but we should not lose focus. The blood lost should not be in vain. We should continue to jealously guard our country and its sovereignty. We will never allow it to go into the hands of puppets or the whites,” declared Chiwenga.